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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-07-03
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
[Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 4, 2007 is a holiday at UN Headquarters.
There will be no noon briefing. The briefing resumes on Thursday, July 5, 2007.]
BAN KI-MOON ATTENDS CONFERENCE TO REBUILD AFGHAN JUSTICE SYSTEM
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Rome, where he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Rome on the margin of the Conference on the rule of law in Afghanistan that concluded its work today. It was their second meeting since last Friday when the Secretary-General made a surprise visit to Kabul. On their agenda was the high level of civilian casualties resulting from the operations of international forces and documented by the Independent Human Rights Commission in Afghanistan.
In other bilateral meetings, with Italian Prime Ministers and Foreign Minister and with the Secretary General of NATO among others, the Secretary-General stressed that in countering the ongoing anti-Government insurgency, Afghan and international forces have to act strictly in accordance with international humanitarian law.
We simply cannot hide from the reality that civilian casualties, no matter how accidental, strengthen our enemies and undermine our efforts he said, echoing one of the central themes of his statement this morning to the conference.
During his bilateral meetings, he also discussed the need to renew and reinforce international partnership to rebuild Afghanistans institutions, but at the same time the need for transparency, accountability and political will on the part of the Afghan government to uproot corruption.
The Secretary-General is expected to end the day in Rome with a joint press conference with President Hamid Karzai and Italian Foreign Minister Massima dAlema.
He is expected in Turin tomorrow to visit the United Nations Staff College, before returning to Geneva on Thursday where he will be inaugurating the Global Compact Leaders Summit.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL IN NAIROBI, ON LAST STOP OF HER TRIP
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro has arrived in Nairobi on the last leg of her current trip to Africa and Europe.
During her three-day visit in the Kenyan capital, she is expected to meet with Government officials and to deliver a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the International Womens Summit on Womens Leadership on HIV and AIDS.
The Deputy Secretary-General will also meet with the National AIDS Consultative Council on progress made in addressing the epidemic in Kenya and will be visiting a primary school located in Kibera, one of Africas largest slums.
Yesterday, before leaving Accra -- where she was attending the African Union Summit -- the Deputy Secretary-General held a press conference.
SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR JULY
This morning, the Security Council met in closed consultations on the Central African Republic and other matters.
General Lamine Cissť, the head of the UN Peacebuilding Office in that country, briefed Council members on the latest developments there.
Security Council President, Ambassador Wang Guangya of China, on the Central Republican Republic was read out.
The Council also adopted its programme of work for the month.
U.N.-AU JOINT TEAM IN SUDAN AND ERITREA TO DISCUSS NEXT STEP
OF DARFUR PEACE PROCESS
According to the UN mission in Sudan, over the past week, the United Nations-African Union Joint Mediation Support Team, jointly led by Pekka Haavisto for the UN side and Sam Ibok for the African Union, has been travelling in Sudan and Eritrea for consultations with Darfur Peace Agreement non-signatory movements in North Darfur and those based in Asmara.
They met with Eritrean officials in Asmara to discuss the next steps of the political process as outlined in the Roadmap.
Together with Eritrean officials, the team also met with First Vice President Salva Kiir in Juba in southern Sudan on 2 July to discuss the SPLM's role in the political process.
The Secretary-General has said there are four main tracks in which the United Nations is addressing the Darfur crisis -- humanitarian assistance, the hybrid operation to stabilize the situation, the political process and development.
U.N. AGENCIES PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO FLOOD VICTIMS IN PAKISTAN
A UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team is on its way to Pakistan, following severe flooding and destruction caused by the recent cyclone there. Hundreds of people have been reported killed, and more than a quarter million driven from their homes.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has released an emergency cash grant of 100-thousand dollars for local procurement of emergency relief, and UN agencies are establishing two field coordination hubs, in Quetta and along the coast. UNICEF is providing tents, blankets, medicine and food, while the World Health Organization (WHO) is sending trauma and emergency kits.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), meanwhile, is also rushing 15 tons of emergency supplies to thousands of Afghan refugees in southwestern Balochistan.
KOSOVO: BAN ON USE OF RUBBER BULLETS BY ALL POLICE UNITS
In a response asked yesterday, the Spokeswoman said that the police chief for the UN Mission in Kosovo says he has banned the use of rubber bullets by all police units operating in Kosovo.
At a press conference today in Pristina, Police Commissioner Richard Monk said that shortly after his arrival earlier this year, he prohibited the carriage or use of rubber bullets by any police unit in Kosovo for whatever purpose.
The decision came in the wake of the deaths of two protestors in February. At that point, Monk says, he instituted a review of UN and Kosovo Police Service policies and procedures for crowd and riot control.
SOME 4,500 COMBATANTS EXPECTED TO SURRENDER WEAPONS
IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Next week, the third phase of the disarmament, demobilisation and reinsertion programme will begin for ex-Congolese combatants in the restive Ituri district.
That's according to the UN Mission in the DR Congo, which says that the $2.5 million exercise will affect three of the main militia groups and will be supervised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with UNICEF, UN and Congolese military and civilian authorities.
The project will last a little more than three months and is expected to bring some 4,500 combatants to surrender their weapons and receive disarmament certificates, which would further facilitate their return to civilian life.
UNDP estimates that 7 out of 10 of the fighters will rejoin civilian life, while the rest would be absorbed into the new integrated Congolese Army.
AID WORKERS TACKLE MALNUTRITION IN KENYAN REFUGEE CAMPS
Persistent high malnutrition in Kenyan refugee camps has to be tackled now to save lives. Thats according to three UN agencies who are urging donors to support a 32 million dollar appeal to improve care for refugees most of them Somalis and Sudaneseliving in camps in Dabaab and Kakuma.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF are particularly concerned by the rate of acute malnutrition among children under five.
The agencies also say a complete assistance package is needed to overcome chronic shortages in essential commodities.
100 PALESTINIAN REFUGEES TO RESETTLE IN BRAZIL
The UN Refugee Agency reports that an estimated 100 Palestinian refugees living in Iraq will be resettled in Brazil.
This will provide a humanitarian solution for Palestinians who have been staying in a Jordanian camp since 2003, says UNHCR which stresses the extremely harsh living conditions of this desert camp.
In recent years, UNHCR has repeatedly appealed for a solution for this group, but before this latest response from Brazil only Canada and New Zealand had come forward taking in respectively 55 and 22 Palestinian refugees.
TIMOR-LESTE: ONGOING DROUGHT LEAVES ONE FIFTH OF POPULATION VULNERABLE TO FOOD SHORTAGES
The World Food Programme (WFP) is seeking help from international donors to assist the government of Timor-Leste, in meeting the food needs of people living in areas affected by a severe ongoing drought.
A recent food security and crop survey conducted by the WFP and the Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO) found that drought conditions and a locust outbreak had caused a 30-percent decline in crop production on the island in the past year, leaving one fifth of the population vulnerable to food shortages through the coming lean season.
WFP estimates that the drought has resulted in an overall food shortage of more than 86,000 metric tonnes, and indicates that at least 15,000 metric tonnes of additional food assistance will be needed to meet Timors food needs in the coming year.
INVESTIGATION INTO DEATH OF PEACEKEEPERS IN LEBANON ONGOING
Asked whether the Commissioner of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission in Lebanon, Serge Brammertz, was heading the investigation into the recent deaths of UN peacekeepers in Lebanon, the Spokesperson said several experts from Mr. Brammertzs team were assisting the UNIFIL investigation but there is no link between the work/mandate of the Brammertz Commission and the UNIFIL investigation.
REQUEST OF WHISTLEBLOWER STATUS IS BEING REVIEWED
Asked about the former operations manager for the UN Development Programme in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, the Spokesperson said the man had requested whistleblower status from the Ethics Office, and that request was being reviewed.
In response to a question about the number of whistleblower protection cases, the Spokeswoman later said that the information is contained in the annual report to the General Assembly on the activities of the Ethics Office.
WESTERN SAHARA REPORT REISSUED: Asked why the Secretary-General's report on Western Sahara was reissued for technical reasons, the Spokesperson referred to the explanation provided in the
Note to Correspondents issued on Friday.
U.S. MILITARY ATTACHE FOUND DEAD IN CYPRUS: Asked about the death of a U.S. diplomat in Cyprus, the Spokesperson said that the UN had no information about this.
SPOKESWOMAN CLARIFIES U.N. OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS STATUS: Asked what the UNs procedure is when the Secretary-General or President of the Security Council receives a letter, along with a request to circulate the document as an official UN document, the Spokesperson said that such a request is typically granted. In connection with the specific case of a letter from two members of the three-member presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Spokesperson later said that such a letter would only be circulated as an official document if it was sent by all the members who comprise a Head of Government.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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